Huge strides made during legislative session

Posted by: Kelly Sweeney  | Monday, April 29, 2013 8:00 am

STATEHOUSE – With the legislative session over, many bills have passed out of the General Assembly which the governor has signed into law. State Representative Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) has worked on a number of those bills that positively impact the state.

“Every session we have an opportunity to make Indiana better, and this year, my colleagues and I were able to address an assortment of issues affecting Hoosiers,” said Rep. Gutwein. “Some of the bills I worked on aimed to address mobile disaster relief funding, provide tax relief on Hoosier farmland and increase opportunities for military combat medics.”

Co-authored by Rep. Gutwein, House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1325 was drafted in response to a situation that occurred to Henryville community in March of last year. A tornado devastated the town in which firefighters from across the state responded to help their fellow Hoosiers in need. At that point, there was not a funding mechanism at the state level to pay these first responders for their overtime work.

“When a firefighter or first responder reacts to a potentially hazardous situation, the last thing on their mind is money. This new law addresses a situation that occurred in Henryville last year where state firefighters answered the call to provide aid after a massive tornado struck the town.  They were not compensated fully for their efforts, and this bill ensures that this does not happen again,” said Rep. Gutwein.

HEA 1325 provides that first responders can now receive payment by the State Disaster Relief Fund. Additionally, the law also provides funds for local fire departments to bring in backup firefighters to replace those who left to respond to a disaster.

Another bill co-authored by Rep. Gutwein was HEA 1486. The bill provides that the Emergency Medical Service Commission (EMSC) can issue a certificate or license to a military service applicant who received training, instruction, or experience to perform the duties of emergency medical personnel.

Currently, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) matches military training with civilian certification in the emergency medical field. When a military medic submits a special application to transfer that training over to civilian medical licensing, the IDHS will advise applicants on whether or not they are approved or lack deficiencies. If the IDHS finds the applicant deficient, HEA 1486 allows the EMSC to issue a temporary license while the military service applicant satisfies those particular requirements.

Co-sponsored by Rep. Gutwein, Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 319 provides tax relief on Hoosier farmland. Fast-tracked through the legislative process to the governor’s desk, this law uses current soil productivity factors for the March 2o11 assessment of agricultural land value to remain in place for property taxes payable in 2014. This prevents an approximate increase of $57M on Hoosier farmland.

“This session, my colleagues and I used a balanced, innovative and common sense approach to handle many issues affecting Hoosiers, and I look forward to ways these new laws will address those concerns making our state even better,” said Rep. Gutwein.

Visit www.in.gov/legislative for more information about HEA 1002, 1325 and SEA 319.

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